Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Webbing a Quilt Top

 I taught a workshop at my local quilting guild on Saturday, January 20, using my "Leftovers" pattern. It was less about this-not-very-complicated-pattern, and more about the quick piecing techniques and quick cutting techniques I routinely employ to finish numerous quilts in a very short time.

One of the techniques I demonstrated was "webbing a quilt top." It's like chain piecing on steroids. I love to web a top, and I use it to put blocks together, sections of quilts together, and entire quilt tops whenever possible. It means I can lay everything out on the floor, decide how I like it, pick it ALL up at one time, then sew, sew, sew until the top is pieced.

Webbed rows ready to piece
Leftovers (typical size), without borders
This quilt was a bit unusual, since it was a teaching sample. I pieced half of the quilt during class as a demo (actually I showed up at class with 10 blocks finished, and just pieced half of the blocks, and the top, in the rest of class to "lead the way," so to speak). I wasn't using a charm pack, but instead had fractured a layer cake for this quilt, and had 3 yards of that great Hearty Good Wishes II background fabric on hand, so I could go bigger.

When I came home, I pieced another "half" of the quilt (which is actually the typical number of blocks generated with a charm pack). So, I can demo webbing on half of this quilt, but if I had the whole quilt to make at one time, I'd have webbed the whole thing at once.

Half already pieced on Saturday, half of the blocks made Monday awaiting chaining/webbing

This is the half I'll web.
Ideally, you web an even number of columns. It doesn't matter how many blocks are in each column, but if your quilt lays out as a 4x5 (like this one does), I treat them like two stacks of five.

Begin by laying the right-hand block on top of the left-hand block, flipping it so that you'll sew the right seam. Think of it as laying block 2 on top of block 1, if that helps.

Flip column 2 onto column 1, and column 4 onto column 3.

Pick them up in one stack of 10-seams-to-sew. I pick them up from top left down the first column, then top right down the second column.

Chain piece your block pairs through.

Ten seams sewn.

If you have table space, you can pull them straight out. You'll clip ONE joining thread between the fifth and sixth pair (so that you again have two columns of five block pairs.

Open up the Column 1-2 pair, and flip over on top of it the Column 3-4 pairs, again so you can sew the five seams that connect your rows together.

I usually do this without even getting out of my chair, but I was trying to show you a clear picture.

Because everything is chained together, your pairs of blocks will feed up toward the needle from your lap. Just chain-piece them through.


When you open it out flat, you can see that each seam in the rows are connected by the tiny chain of stitches. Nothing can flip. No row can end up upside down. You can take a break without worrying about forgetting where you are.

See the tiny webbing?

Now you are ready to just flip a row over on the row next to it, and stitch from side to side.

Two seams sewn, and two to go on this half of the quilt!

Finished! It is at this point that I iron. Yes, you heard that right...I am just finger-pressing the seams until I have the whole top together. I'm a heretic like that.

Here's the quilt before its outside border...

And I went with seagulls for the outside border. I'm a longtime Jonathan Livingston Seagull fan.
I hope this pictorial tutorial helps you understand webbing. It is so powerful! I can web a charity quilt in an hour, usually, and it gets them done and in the frame that much faster. As I told my guild today at our Day meeting, the problem isn't how fast I sew...it's no matter how fast I sew, I cannot seem to sew faster than I shop!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

From Fabric to Finish: On Ringo Lake Mystery

I'm going to link up to the Final Link Up for the Quiltville Mystery, and decided a blog post was fitting.

This year I participated in the Bonnie Hunter annual Quiltville Mystery quilt, "On Ringo Lake." I have made a few Bonnie Hunter quilts in the past, including Allietare and Celtic Solstice. As soon as Bonnie announced the colors for this year's quilt, it was irresistible for me. I adore coral and teal and chocolate brown. So, since this year was our year to stay put instead of traveling to see family over the holidays, I decided I was all in. I got to hit a couple of quilt shops on our trip to Texas as we traveled, and added a few new pieces to my stash. Then I did a real stash pull to add to it after I got home in November.

I bought several new fabrics (mostly corals and teals) but pulled all the possibilities that I had in my stash to use alongside them. Those browns and beiges have been aging a while.
 The first clue always comes out on Black Friday, and it's a great diversion for those of us who don't shop. Then clues follow each Friday, and we have the opportunity to link up photos of what we've finished thus far to Bonnie's blog each week. I didn't link every week, and mostly use Instagram for my daily quilting photos. I am not the most consistent blogger (LOL), so Instagram is a lot easier for me to journal my progress.

Week by week, the pieces began to pile up!

Clue 1: a stack of tiny nine-patches

Clue 2: Gaggles of Coral Geese

Clue 3: So many diamonds!

Clue 4: Piecing Teal/Brown triangles
Clue 5: Brown Geese join the flock

The pieces were already adding up.

Clue 6: Coral triangles added to Clue 4

Clue 7: Joining the Coral and Brown Geese
 Finally, Bonnie revealed the block design, so we could begin assembling units into blocks. I had fun leisurely piecing blocks while we were snowbound with a nice beautiful snow after the first of the year.
Clue 8: Blocks! I have made double units, but decided to piece just enough blocks for my lap-sized quilt first. 
 I decided to make a 60x72" version for Maggie first, and then use the rest of my units at our annual Ft. Caswell quilting retreat next weekend. When I started this mystery, I had planned from the beginning that it would be the perfect project to take with me to retreat.

Clue 9: The reveal! 
 I got the quilt assembled late on Sunday evening, and then I had a chance to quilt it first thing on Monday. I decided to do a hand-guided meander because SO MANY SEAMS. Plus, every once in a while, I love to hand guide a stipple. Seems like old times.

Quilted and bound!

I couldn't resist a photo On Millsap Pond. (I cannot in good conscience call it "Millsap Lake.")

I had a fantastic time from the beginning to end of this project. And it's not even finished yet! I'm going to piece and quilt a queen-sized version for me. If you ever have a holiday season where you want to add a little sewing, I highly recommend the Quiltville mystery.